The Risks of DIY Estate Planning

Many of us, including me, enjoy the satisfaction that comes from completing a DIY project. This satisfaction is a result of knowing that I completed a project without having to call a professional and that I saved a lot of money. However, all too often, we “DIY-ers” make a mistake, or something goes wrong with the project. Quickly that feeling of satisfaction turns to frustration when realizing that DIY project wasn’t done right and ultimately the project costs are bigger than they would have been if a professional was hired in the first place.

There are people who think Estate Planning can be a DIY project as well. Unfortunately, by attempting to use a DIY Estate planning kit, people can end up causing more problems. These problems end up costing the beneficiaries of the estate more time and money. These issues may have been avoided by speaking with an experienced Estate Planning Attorney. The role of an Estate Planning Attorney is to be a counselor in explaining your different options and pointing out some of the pitfalls that may be lurking. Computer generated forms are simply not comparable to the customized service that an Estate Planning Attorney can provide.

Some of the problems that people run into with DIY Estate Planning Documents:

  • Institutions may not accept your DIY power of attorney
  • Every state has unique laws – online forms may not be in sync with those laws
  • Online forms will not help you protect your assets from creditors, lawsuits, divorce, etc.
  • Templates are not flexible: If you want your child to receive their inheritance only after a monumental event, such as graduating college, an online program may not allow for this option.
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